Viva Connections: a centralized hub for communication

Viva Connections:
a centralized
hub for

Viva Connections

How to deliver relevant news and updates within a company.

The modern digital workplace has one distinctiveness. While cloud-based solutions have unparalleled access to collaboration tools, employees often find themselves drowning in a sea of data. Research conducted by Harvard Business Review revealed that workers at a major company from the Fortune 500 list used an average of 22 different applications and websites throughout their workday. They switched between apps and windows a staggering 3,600 times per day. This information overload hinders productivity. To address these pain points, Viva Connections, as a part of Microsoft 365, offers a centralized solution for employee experience. In this article, we’ll break down its key features and see how they tackle the problems facing today’s employees.

What is Viva Connections and how does it enhance employee experience?

Understanding the basics of Viva Connections

Microsoft Viva Connections, a core pillar of the Microsoft Viva employee experience platform and an app in Microsoft 365, functions as a carefully curated and branded solution accessible directly within Microsoft Teams. Its fundamental purpose is to streamline the way employees discover and interact with crucial company resources and information. It pulls together a company’s resources, news, conversations, and tools from various Microsoft 365 services and presents them in a unified and easily accessible interface.

Viva Connections approaches the fragmented nature of digital workplaces and creates a unified employee experience focused on discoverability and personalization. It has three main components (as shown in the screenshot below):

Viva Connections approaches

  • Feed
    Feed resembles a company news stream. It pulls in relevant company announcements, updates from communities you follow (for instance, in SharePoint) and trending content. This personalized approach keeps users in the loop about what matters most to their roles and interests, without the information overload.
  • Dashboard
    The dashboard is where your work meets essential resources. It’s built with customizable cards that link to everything from HR systems for benefits enrollment to learning modules on company processes. These cards can be adjusted by the IT experts based on departmental needs, so sales teams might see lead tracking tools, while an HR team would find quick access to employee onboarding templates. It creates a one-stop-shop experience that eliminates the need to launch multiple applications for daily tasks.
  • Resources
    The resources tab is a navigation point for your organization’s larger intranet structure. Here, you’ll find links to key sites like the policy library, company-wide documents, and employee directories. Instead of getting lost in a maze of links, the resources tab provides a clear jumping-off point, in this way, helping employees find relevant repositories.

Together, these three components establish a cohesive experience that balances information consumption, task execution, and deeper exploration of organizational resources.

Explore how we created a powerful research management solution that allows investment professionals to fasten and enhance their research. Success story

How Viva Connections boosts organizational productivity

As previously mentioned, Viva Connections empowers employees to find the information and resources they need quickly and efficiently. This focus on discoverability is particularly relevant in an information-rich work environment, where employees are often bombarded with content from multiple sources. This solution cuts through the clutter and makes critical information a top team priority.

Let’s explore how Viva Connections specifically elevates the employee experience:

  • Centralized information hub
    Viva Connections reduces the need for employees to navigate a labyrinth of disparate intranet sites, file repositories, or applications. It establishes a single access point for different types of resources like news, policies, communities, benefits information, and others, reducing search friction and wasted time.
  • Personalized feeds and targeting
    Moving away from the one-size-fits-all approach of traditional intranets, Viva Connections leverages user roles, team affiliations, and expressed interests to deliver a more narrow content experience. This highly personalized feed guarantees that employees primarily see information aligned with their needs and preferences.
  • Community building
    Deep integration with platforms like SharePoint empowers employees to discover and engage in company-wide conversations, employee resource groups (ERGs), and social initiatives. These connections cultivate a stronger sense of belonging, particularly valuable for distributed or hybrid workforces.
  • Integration of communication and work
    Viva Connections places news, announcements, and critical updates directly within the Microsoft Teams environment where work happens. This integration allows employees to stay informed without context switching or workflow disruption.
  • Mobile-first accessibility
    The Viva Connections mobile app extends the reach of organizational knowledge and processes beyond the desktop. Employees can access vital information, initiate or complete workflows, and connect with colleagues even while on the go.

All in all, Viva Connections’ influence on productivity lies in its ability to manage the underlying friction points that hinder efficiency within sprawling organizations. It eliminates time wasted searching for information or switching between applications. Moreover, the personalized nature of Viva Connections reduces cognitive overload and allows for greater focus.

Microsoft Viva Connections vs. Other solutions

How Viva Connections and SharePoint intranet work together

While both SharePoint and Viva Connections serve the purpose of informing and engaging employees, they cater to different user needs. SharePoint provides the foundation for information storage and management, and Viva Connections acts as the user-friendly, personalized access point. Here’s a breakdown of how they work together and their key differences.

SharePoint intranet is a comprehensive information hub for organizations. It accommodates all the essential content, documents, and resources employees need, from company policies and procedures to departmental knowledge bases and project sites. In this way, it offers a structured and organized way to store and manage information.

Viva Connections leverages the power of an existing SharePoint intranet and presents a curated view within the familiar Microsoft Teams interface. We can compare it to a personalized news feed and dashboard that includes the most relevant content from the broader SharePoint intranet.

It’s important to note that Viva Connections can also leverage SharePoint home sites. These are essentially designated landing pages within your SharePoint intranet that can be customized to deliver a branded and department-specific experience. Viva Connections can integrate with these home sites, which allows employees to access them directly within Teams. This paves the way for the combination of the personalized elements of Viva Connections with the deeper information structure of SharePoint home sites.

Although Viva Connections and a SharePoint intranet might seem like competing forces, they function best as complementary tools within the Microsoft 365 ecosystem. SharePoint has the flexibility and depth for robust content organization, and Viva Connections boasts a personalized user experience that drives productivity. Together, they create an optimal balance for an integrated, information-rich digital workplace.

Implementing Viva Connections in your organization

Before we briefly sketch an integration strategy, it’s important to note that Viva Connections is not a standalone solution, but an integrated experience built on top of existing Microsoft 365 tools This means companies need to confirm that the underlying content, structure, and permissions within their SharePoint environment are well organized. Below is a closer look at essential steps along the implementation of Viva Connections:

1. Plan deployment beforehand
Evaluate your existing intranet, communication channels, and how employees currently discover information and collaborate. Identify pain points and areas where Viva Connections could provide the most value.

2. Set goals and metrics
Clearly define desired outcomes from implementing Viva Connections. These could include metrics like time saved searching for information, increased intranet engagement, or improved participation in company-wide initiatives.

3. Proceed with technical setup and configuration
Make sure you have the necessary Microsoft 365 licenses and work with IT professionals to provision Viva Connections within your tenant. Through the admin center, set up your organization’s Viva Connections experience that would include branding elements and initial dashboard configuration.

4. Design dashboards and curate content
Create customized dashboard cards to offer quick access to the most commonly used tools, resources, and frequently updated information. Target these cards towards specific teams or roles if needed. Then, identify relevant content and resources from your existing SharePoint intranet to surface within Viva Connections.

5. Communicate during the integration
Create a multi-channel communication plan to create awareness about Viva Connections. This should include emails, announcements, training guides, leadership endorsements, and possibly a formal launch event.

6. Provide training
Offer comprehensive training and easily accessible support channels to make employees comfortable with navigating and utilizing Viva Connections. You can also recruit a group of enthusiastic early adopters to champion Viva Connections within their teams.

7. Assess success and iterate
Based on data and feedback, continuously iterate on Viva Connections. Add new features, adjust card configurations, and update content to maximize its impact over time.

Markedly, the journey with Viva Connections continues after implementation. Think of it as a living, breathing part of your digital workplace that is constantly evolving to meet the needs of your organization. Promote new features and functionality to encourage user adoption. Most importantly, empower employees to be active participants in shaping the platform. Create opportunities for them to suggest content, participate in discussions, and contribute to the overall knowledge base.

Integrating Viva Insights for employee engagement

Viva Connections, when paired with Viva Insights, brings an even more powerful solution for understanding and improving the way employees stay engaged within your organization. Here’s how they work together.

Viva Insights offers data-driven analytics on factors that influence employee engagement, such as meeting overload, burnout risk, after-hours work, and focus time availability. It provides actionable insights for managers and leaders to identify potential workplace challenges.

Based on the analytics from the solution, you can strategically use Viva Connections to deliver targeted interventions, reminders, and resources and pinpoint new areas for improvement. For example, if insights show a high risk of burnout, you can set up a dashboard card that links to well-being resources or offer prompts to encourage taking breaks and PTO. If focus time is limited due to meeting overload, you can use the feed to promote company-wide initiatives around meeting best practices or schedule-focused, meeting-free workdays.

Creating a Viva Learning environment in your organization

Viva Learning transforms learning from a separate event into an integrated part of the workday within Microsoft Teams. Instead of requiring employees to navigate to a separate Learning Management System (LMS), it directly brings context-specific learning content, personalized recommendations, and social learning opportunities into their existing workflows.

An integration of Viva Learning and Viva Connections further advances the learning experience. Viva Connections acts as a personalized hub for employees to access company resources, news, and communities. In this way, employees can easily discover training modules or skill-building resources directly within their personalized feeds. This timely exposure to relevant learning material enhances knowledge at the point of need.

Commonly asked questions about Viva Connections

How to set up Viva Connections for your company?

Evaluate your current intranet and tools, then define clear goals and identify the key tasks Viva Connections will support. Next, work with IT experts to provision Viva Connections, brand the experience, and guarantee the app is pinned within Teams. Carefully design the dashboard to provide quick access to tools and resources, and then select relevant content from your existing intranet.

What are the keys to maximizing the benefits of Viva Connections for employee productivity?

Since Viva Connections acts as a streamlined interface to that content, make sure your SharePoint intranet is well-organized. Customize the experience to make it feel like a personal work hub for employees. Finally, seek ongoing feedback from your employees to understand how Viva Connections is being used.

What are the intricacies of ensuring smooth navigation in Viva Connections?

Global navigation in Viva Connections reflects the structure of your SharePoint intranet. Focus on clear information architecture, logical site hierarchies, and robust metadata tagging even before you think about the Viva Connections layer. Besides, consider audience segmentation for targeted navigation menus if your organization is large and complex. This strategy lowers clutter and makes relevant information more accessible.

Final thoughts

In a time of hybrid work and information overload, Viva Connections, as a part of Microsoft 365, gives modern enterprises a distinct strategic advantage. Its ability to personalize the flow of information addresses a fundamental pain point experienced by many modern enterprises. It reduces the cognitive burden on employees and fosters a sense of self-sufficiency instead of dependency. This focus on accessibility and connection is not just about employee convenience. It directly impacts the speed of decision-making, problem resolution, and organizational agility in the face of change. As a result, Viva Connections is a strategic investment that translates into increased productivity and improved talent retention.

Explore opportunities of Viva Connections integration: contact us.

Other articles


Book a meeting

Zoom 30 min

or call us+1 (800) 917-0207

Ready to innovate your business?

We are! Let’s kick-off our journey to success!